The combination of the positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) into one machine is an advanced nuclear imaging technique which is being widely used in cancer diagnosis these days. This scan reveals information about both the structure and function of cells and tissues in the body during a single imaging session. The procedure combines information about the body’s anatomy and metabolic function and the scan provides a more detailed picture of cancerous tissues. The images are captured in a single session of PET CT scan and it provides high level accurate results.
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Why is a PET CT scan performed?
PET CT scanners were initially used as a research tool when David Townsend and Ronald Nutt started working on it. The first prototype scanner for clinical evaluation was installed at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 1998. The scanner was then commercially launched in the market in 2001. And by 2004 around 400 scanners were installed worldwide. Since 2004, these scanners have played a fundamental role in medical diagnosis and helped people diagnose deadly diseases at early stages.
There are a number of diseases that just cannot be diagnosed on the symptoms discussed or normal imaging tests. Diseases like Cancer, Heart Problems, brain disorders and problems with the central nervous system can be easily diagnosed by PET CT scan. PET CT scan can be applied in many fields of analyzing healthcare problems such as:
- Cardiovascular problems – PET CT Scan has helped doctors assess problems associated with cardio activity. They have been successful in diagnosing ailments like mayocardial viability in patients with ischemic heart failure, poor ventricular function that is considered for revascularization, coronary artery disease, unstable angina, heart valve disease and other heart problems.
- Central nervous system problems – Areas of high radioactivity are associated with brain activity measured indirectly with the flow of the blood to different parts of the brain, but this is a pure assumption. PET CT scan has proved its worth in department of neurology as well. It has helped the doctors in the diagnosis of several diseases and disorders like Alzheimer’s, seizures, stroke, huntington’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular diseases.
- Cancer – Oncology is a department that has used the application of PET CT scan to the maximum service. PET CT scan has proved to be a boon in cancer diagnosis and has helped the doctors locate different tumors at different locations at once during a single session of a PET CT scan. It has helped the doctors locate tumors in the brain, head, neck and other parts of the body. It has also been helpful in diagnosis, staging, and monitoring treatment of cancers, particularly in Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and lung cancer.
Procedure of PET CT Scan
PET CT scan is normal outpatient procedure and is noninvasive. The patient needs to follow certain instructions before he undergoes the scan. Things listed below are what a patient needs to take care of before the scan:
- Avoid consumption of food atleast 4 to 6 hours before the scan
- Drink plenty of water
- Do not consume Caffeine for at least 24 hours before the scan
- Inform the doctor prior if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
PET CT scan uses a short lived radio isotope tracer called FDG (F-18 labeled fluorodeoxyglucose) which is injected into the veins of the patient. After the injection, the patient needs to wait for 60 minutes while the active molecules get concentrated in tissues of the body. Patients like kids and old age patients cannot handle this radioactive glucose and hence they are given mild sedatives to stay still during the PET CT scan procedure.
The patient is then provided with the hospital gown so that he can comfortably lie down on the scan table. This scan table then slides into the PET CT scanner machine which is circular in shape. The PET CT Scanner passes gamma rays into the body and the organs that are highlighted with the radioactive glucose emit back the signals to the machine. The radioactive glucose highlights the tissues of the organs being scanned so that the doctors are able to see the functioning of the organs and the tissues. PET CT scanner has been proved to be the most useful nuclear imaging technique as it can measure the blood flow, oxygen use, glucose metabolism (how your body uses sugar), and much more. PET CT scanner has proved to be life saving for cancer patients. The cancerous cells have greater concentration of glucose in them. They are easily tagged by the radioactive solution and can be easily detected during the scan. The combination of PET and CT captures three-dimensional images which can be further reconstructed using computer analysis. The entire process may take 2- 3 hours including the 60 minutes of resting time before the scan.
Risks of PET CT scan
Higher the nuclear technology, higher is the risk involved. Every high end imaging technique emits radiations. And these radiations can be harmful to almost everyone around the scanner, including the patients, doctors, technicians and if they do not meet the safety regulations, people moving around in the building may also be at a risk. Nevertheless, PET CT scan is a boon to the cancer patients all over the world and it has got more benefits than risks. Let us have a look at the benefits first and then discuss about the risks involved.
Benefits of PET CT scan
- Helps the doctors detect and diagnose life threatening diseases like cancer, heart problems, brain disorders and problems associated with central nervous system.
- Helps in differentiating between benign and malignant tumors.
- Helps the physician locate the cancer, its size and stage
- Helps in detecting if cancer is static or spread to the other organs.
- Helps the doctors to plan the treatment strategy and observe the progress of the treatment
- Helps in checking whether the patient is responding to the treatment.
- Helps to find if the cancer has returned post treatment.
- Other than cancer it also helps in diagnosis of chronic diseases like coronary artery disease, brain tumors, memory disorders like Alzheimer’s and seizures
Risks involved in using PET CT Scan
- The Scan uses radioactive material, but it is said to have minimal exposure to radiations
- The scanners can be stationed at the centers only if the diagnostic centers have approvals from AERB and certifications from ISO ad NABL. If they do not meet the required regulations, they might have harmful effects on the patients, doctors and technicians including the public in the building.
- The scan needs to be taken only if it is needed. Else, it may lead to stress and anxiety leading to wrong diagnosis, unnecessary added tests and false health alarms.
- Multiple PET CT scans can definitely expose a patient to high level of radiation. These radiations may cause cancer. But, usually physicians don’t prescribe it frequently.
- PET CT scan cannot be taken if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
- Patients with high level of creatinine in their body and kidney diseases cannot have this scan either.
- The solution injected can rarely cause allergic reactions
- Few patients may be claustrophobic and face some discomfort during and after the scan.
Cancer in Delhi
Cancer is a deadly disease and has become very common reason for mortality in India. Human body is said to be working and functioning properly if the cells divide and grow when necessary. But when the cells divide and grow chaotically, the mass of these extra cells forms a tumor. Not necessary all these tumors are cancerous. Few tumors are also benign and not life threatening. These can also be removed through surgery and most of the times do not return. If the tumors are malignant, they are called “cancerous”. These tumors are life threatening and prove to be fatal. Approximately one million new cancer cases are detected every year in India. According to The International Cancer Agency GLOBCAN the estimated projected incidence of cancer in 2020 is 1.25 million and for 2025 it is 1.50 million. There are different types of cancer that have proved their prevalence like, breast, cervical, oral, lung, stomach, colorectal, pharyngeal, esophageal, laryngeal, leukemia, prostate, and liver.
A recent survey of cancer in India has some alarming figures and it says that Delhi has the highest cancer incidence in India. In Delhi, Population based cancer registries record all the new cancer cases occurring in a defined population with epidemiological and public health aspects. According to this stats Delhi records maximum cancer incidences with 27 PBCR and 19,746 cancer cases. Records of PBCR also showed that breast cancer is the commonest cancer among women of Delhi and breast cancer accounts for 28.6% of all cancers in women in Delhi. A few decades ago, breast cancer was common after the age of 50 and the numbers of young women suffering from this disease were lesser. Almost 65% to 70% patients were above 50 years and only 30 to 35% women were below 50 years of age. Presently breast cancer is more common in the younger age group and almost 50% of all cases are in the 25 to 50 years age group. The second common form of cancer in Delhi is Lung Cancer. And this is the alarming outfall of traumatic air pollution in Delhi. One in every 5 patients diagnosed with lung cancer in Delhi are non-smokers. Dr P K Julka, professor of oncology at AIIMS, on the eve of World Cancer Day said “Till about a decade ago, less than 10% of all lung cancer patients were non-smokers. This percentage has now gone up to around 20%, which is significantly high. Rising pollution levels may be playing a role”.
Few realize that timely diagnosis and treatment can cure most types of tumors and cancers. At present, doctors say survival rate for most cancers stands still at 20% because a majority of the patients come to the doctors when the disease is already in the advanced, or III and IV, stages. “If cancer is detected early, 80% patients can be cured of the disease,” said Dr GK Rath, chief of AIIMS’ cancer centre, the Bhim Rao Ambedkar Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital.
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The burden of diseases is a challenging task today. It has become a priority to diagnose and treat the chronic illnesses early to improve the lifespan of people and the quality of life. Around 60% of the India’s population falls under the category of middle class and upper middle class families. There are very few who can afford today’s healthcare costs and most of them ignore their diseases just because they cannot afford the treatment costs and end up giving up their lives. Many other who have the quest to recover, end up in debts spending millions on the treatment costs. Coming to the current healthcare infrastructure and costs, government of India has been working towards providing affordable healthcare services to all.
The demand for healthcare in Delhi is more than the available services. Residents of Delhi keep complaining about the shortfall of doctors and trained technicians. The public PET CT scan centers in Delhi do not cater to the high end diagnostic needs of the patients. People face long hours of waiting time, almost days together. To help this problem come down gradually, BookMyScans is at your service. You can find many PET CT scan centres that are partnered with us to meet your PET CT scan needs in areas like Kirtinagar, greater Kailash and more.
The actual cost of PET CT scan in Delhi is between INR 10,000 to INR 35,000 (depending upon single or whole body PET CT scan). With BookMyScans you can do Full body PET CT Scan in Delhi at assured 50% discount on the market prices. We partner only with PET CT scan centres in Delhi that are approved by AERB and certified by ISO and NABL, and which meet the safety norms to perform this test. We assure you the best quality results and your PET CT Scan reports can be downloaded anytime. Our customer support works round the clock to answer your queries and we take your appointment anytime of the day.
Health tip: Fewer still know that cancer can be prevented by healthy lifestyle. It is very important to educate yourself about the risk factors like smoking, alcoholism or obesity which can cause different types of cancers and you can prevent them all by living a healthy, stress free life by practicing good eating habits, sleeping patterns, yoga and meditation. At least 30 minutes of daily exercise will help you keep up your cardio and will take care of your health automatically. Remember, Cancer can be cured if detected early!
For PET Scan Appointments in Delhi – Contact: 9513 451 451